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Skirting the social norms

So, I've been seeing the occasional story over the past two years of parents who let their kids dress in opposite gender clothing. Boys in dresses and the like. I'm not just saying teens, but even young children around pre-k age. As with most things, some people applaud these parents for being courageous while others claim it will confuse the children, and the extreme say it will scar them for life. I don't see it that way at all.

I highly doubt any of those parents are telling their child to that they have to wear a dress or a skirt if they're a boy. More than likely, they're just giving them the freedom to choose what they want to wear, just like we all do every day. While it might embarrass them in the future to learn that they liked wearing dresses when they were younger, scarring requires some sort of trauma and I can't really see wearing what you want to wear as traumatic...

As for whether this might influence someone into becoming transgender, gay, or anything else, I find that highly doubtful. At most, it would only help a person feel more normal and accepted and free. In fact, I actually wore a dress, heels, wig, once when I was like 8. I thought it was fun and funny (and, of course, my older sister found it funny as well). Nobody got mad at me for not being "manly" and I didn't suddenly become gay or trans. I believe the same to be true long-term as well. If my male child were to like wearing skirts, he can wear them. He can wear pink, purple, yellow, or any other color under the stars.

Go back in time a couple hundred years and you'll see that being a man and wearing dresses and skirt are not at all mutually exclusive. You've got kilts worn by the Scots, togas by the Romans and Greek, robes worn by Chinese and Japanese, and dozens more examples. So when and why did it become socially unacceptable for a man to wear a skirt, dress, or whatever else? Well... believe it or not, but war was the biggest motivator. For one, it was easier to get on/off horses wearing pants or trousers. Moving efficiently in battle was paramount and so pants became the norm.

So then, why do us non-military men not just wear skirts? Society, as is so often the case, has influenced us greatly. Even though we might be more comfortable in a skirt, we're immediately emasculated the minute we step outside. Heck, I even feel awkward walking outside in shorts, opting instead for a cozy pair of sweatpants when I need to take out the trash or get the mail.

Truth is, these kids that are being able to wear what they want without the same fears many of us have had ingrained in us is amazing. This is a real societal change and a positive one I think. While they too might be skirting the social norms, it'll be them that influence society in the coming years. Perhaps skirts will make a comeback for guys? Probably not... but who knows!